Bryant Falls At Wagner


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. –  A potential game-tying drive at the end of regulation ended with a fumble the Bryant University football team dropped a heartbreaker 29-21 at Wagner College Saturday afternoon in Northeast Conference action.

Wagner 2-2 (1-1 NEC) had a chance to put the game away late in the fourth, but David Lopez' 27-yard field goal was blocked by Bryant's Jason Riffe (Newton, Mass.), giving the Bulldogs one last opportunity.

Taking over on their own 20, the Bulldogs (3-2, 0-2 NEC) went nowhere early, taking a sack and losing 13 yards on a reverse.  Facing third and 26, quarterback Mike Croce (Waterbury, Conn.) hooked up with tight end Matt Tracey (Littleton, Colo.) for a 31 pass play for a first down .

A 10-yard run by tailback Jordan Brown (Glastonbury, Conn.) moved the ball down to the Wagner 34 yard with under a minute left.  But following an incomplete pass, the Bulldogs coughed up the ball on a bad snap and Wagner was able to recover and run out the clock.

Looking to rebound from last week's conference opening loss at Central Connecticut, Bryant's defense helped get the Bulldogs on the board early.  After holding the Seahawks to a quick three-and-out on their first possession, Bryant's Tyler Carter (Baltimore, Md.) snuck through the line and blocked Kyle Muir's punt attempt.  Carter was able to recover the ball on Wagner's 2-yard line where two plays later Brown would run it in for his eighth rushing touchdown of the season putting the Bulldogs up 7-0. 

The score marked the fifth time this season that Bryant has scored on its first possession.   

Wagner, which came into the game 0-2 all-time against Bryant, would counter, driving the ball deep into Bryant territory before quarterback Nick Doscher fumbled the ball after taking a hit from Jason Riffe (Newton, Mass.) and teammate Manny Frangiadakis (Westwood, Mass.) would recover on Bryant's own 3-yard line.

A Bryant false start would back the Bulldogs up to the 2-yard line and on the very next play, quarterback Croce was sacked in the end zone for a Wagner safety making it 7-2.

A Seahawk field goal and a 62-yard touchdown pass from Doscher to Justin Matthews to start the second quarter gave Wagner its first lead, 12-7. 

Croce and the Bryant offense would finally put together a solid drive on their ensuing possession .  A nice 16-yard pass completion to Tracey moved the ball across midfield to the Wagner 42-yard line.  Following a sack that moved the ball back to the Wagner 48, Croce dumped a short pass to Brown who danced his way down the Bryant sideline for his second touchdown of the game to put Bryant back on top 13-12.

Wagner would take a 22-13 lead into the locker room thanks to a 6-yard touchdown pass from Doscher to Chris Jaeger and a 30-yard field goal by Lopez.

Doscher finished the game completing 13 of 28 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns. 

Croce had 135 yards passing while Brown went over the 100-yard mark for the fifth time this season as the sophomore finished with 102 yards on 18 carries in the game. Brown also had three catches for 51 yards while Tracey finished with 65 yards receiving on three receptions.

Riffe, who set a school record last week with 17 tackles against Central Connecticut last week, finished the day with 12 stops on defense including two forced fumbles.  Nose tackle Andrew Regan (West Newbury, Mass.) had a career-high 13 tackles to lead the Bulldogs.

Bryant will return home next weekend hosting Sacred Heart University for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend.  Kickoff at Bulldog Stadium is 1 p.m.